just like me

When we saw my cousin a few months ago now, he told me that Caroline reminded him so much of me when I was her age. I don't think he necessarily meant it as a compliment, noting that I had even more energy and crazy in me than she does now. I find that quite difficult to comprehend, but I suppose it is possible. I see myself in her now more than ever and it is when she is most crazy that makes me the craziest. Well played DNA, well played.

We are clearly physically similar, but she catches me at odd moments being a little mini Kerri. I used to write and draw in blank books and she can often be found working on her letters or drawings in a quiet corner, with a blanket around her legs. At the table she likes to do pages from a workbook in pen, asking me questions while I wash dishes or chop cucumbers.

It's been far from a soft landing at home after vacation in so many ways. While I worked hard tonight to score some Keens for the kids next summer at the crazy Zulilly sale that I wanted to shop all day, but couldn't get to, the kids destroyed the playroom. That friends is why I usually bring them directly upstairs for a snack and some sort of activity pre-dinner. It was a rough transition to home and Steve just happened to be home to witness the pandemonium, having just been stung by a bee in the apparently enormous nest in our apple tree. Awesome.

No matter what happens between pick up and bedtime, I try to make my goodnights to the kids quiet, reflective, and a reset if needed for the next day. I spent some extra time with each of them tonight, just laying beside them talking about whatever was on their minds. Connor asked, "Mommy, why you stay so long?" It is because I love you my little boy. He wrapped his arm around me and snuggled his head against me and RESET. Later with Caroline, she kissed my heart necklace and told me she was putting all her secrets and memories inside for me to keep always, even when I die.

BANG. Here we go down the death road again. "Why do people have to die, Mommy? It just doesn't make sense!" It's just the way it is, babe. "Babies, then they die. Babies, then they die. Babies, then they die." Don't you believe in heaven? "How do I get there?" Your soul goes, your body stays here, but your spirit goes up. "What is a spirit?" It is the important stuff about you, not the way you look, or what you do, or what you have, but what you have inside that makes you special and wonderful. It is the good friend you are, the way you care about other people, how much you love animals, and how much you like to have fun. That is the part that will live forever.

That satisfied tonight, but I will be holding this heart necklace that Steve gave me even closer now that she put her secrets and memories in there forever. My God, she is just like me, the little girl probably her age who used to ask my mother ridiculous questions all the time about why things were named what they were and what it felt like to be dead.

we went to harwich

We ate (TOO MUCH) fried seafood, mini golfed, scooped up crabs (that ate other crabs) on the mudflats, ate more ice cream than we should have, went fishing, beached, swam, and watched the entire first season of Homeland. Dare I say, we had a restful and fun vacation with two smallish children?

There were moments of course, a few days that we pushed it a bit too long at the beach and one in particular where Connor nearly pushed a senior citizen off the boardwalk to be the line leader. His little elbow was making its way to her knee just as I grabbed his shoulder and stopped him. True story.

We never had a complete rain out and we have THE worst weather luck in the history of weather. I tried to be more flexible and Steve tried to be more regimented. The kids shared a room and that was simultaneously the best and worst part of the day. They would have spent all night chatting in their beds, by the light of their little camping lanterns. Most nights one had to fall asleep in our bedroom and get hoisted back into their room later.

Caroline found the elusive Moon Snail herself buried under the sand at the end of a little trail of sand. Connor swam in the ocean without being held (wearing a puddle jumper, of course) for the very first time and loved it, but not the sea weed. Caroline launched herself from Steve's shoulders and swam on her own, DIVING through waves. The kids caught three keepers on our fishing trip which we took home to the cottage and baked with camp mix. Caroline branched out and decided cookie dough is her new favorite ice cream. Connor was all sherbet all week and could not believe I had ice cream that tasted like maple syrup.

We got lost getting to Pirate Mini Golf, I have no idea how, and it was a really rocky start thanks to an ill-advised car nap for Con, but he pulled himself together. We had very flexible rules, did not keep score and the kids basically hit their balls and ours until they got all four into the hole, somehow.

We felt the sea air all around us, we took in the peaceful beauty of all things "cape," and we enjoyed what felt for awhile like limitless time together. It was enough to get me wishing for summers with the kids and perhaps even pushed me to formulate an escape plan that would not involve my work phone ringing from my bag in the bedroom and me spending time looking for service to check in on my caseload and complete things I shouldn't have had to complete. Time spent away together brings perspective.

Here are some of my favorite moments of the time our little family spent in Harwich in a little house by the sea.